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- Monsieur de Pourceaugnac - 1/12 -


MR. DE POURCEAUGNAC.

BY

MOLIERE

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH PROSE.

_WITH SHORT INTRODUCTIONS AND EXPLANATORY NOTES_.

BY

CHARLES HERON WALL

'Monsieur de Pourceaugnac', acted on October 6, 1669, is nothing but a farce. But Molière excels in farce as well as in higher comedy, and 'Monsieur de Pourceaugnac' is one of the best of its kind. The attacks upon the doctors of the time are not exaggerated. Molière acted the part of Mr. de Pourceaugnac.

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

MR. DE POURCEAUGNAC. ORONTE, _father to_ JULIA.

ÉRASTE, _lover to_ JULIA.

SBRIGANI, _a Neapolitan adventurer_.

FIRST PHYSICIAN.

SECOND PHYSICIAN.

AN APOTHECARY.

A PEASANT.

A FEMALE PEASANT.

FIRST SWISS.

SECOND SWISS.

A POLICE OFFICER.

TWO INFERIOR POLICE OFFICERS.

JULIA, _daughter to_ ORONTE.

NÉRINE, _an intriguing woman, supposed to come from Picardy._

LUCETTE, _supposed to come from Gascony._

* * * * *

The scene is in Paris.

MR. DE POURCEAUGNAC.

ACT I.

SCENE I.--ÉRASTE, A LADY SINGER, TWO MEN SINGERS, _several others performing on instruments_, DANCERS.

ERA. (_to the_ MUSICIANS _and_ DANCERS). Carry out the orders I have given you for the serenade. As for myself, I will withdraw, for I do not wish to be seen here.

SCENE II.--A LADY SINGER, TWO MEN SINGERS, _several others performing on instruments_, DANCERS.

LADY (_sings_). Spread, charming night, spread over every brow The subtle scent of thy narcotic flower, And let no wakeful hearts keep vigil now Save those enthralled by love's resistless power. More beautiful than day's most beauteous light, Thy silent shades were made for love's delight.

FIRST SINGER. Love is sweet when none our wills oppose; Then peaceful tastes our gentle hearts dispose; But tyrants reign, who gave us birth and life. Ah! love is sweet when love is free from strife.

SECOND SINGER. All who strive 'gainst love must fall; Perfect love will conquer all.

ALL THREE. Let us love with an eternal ardour! Let parents frown, and try in vain to cure, Absence, hardship, or cruel fortune's rigour Will only strengthen love when true and pure.

_First entry of the_ BALLET. (_Dance of the two_ DANCING MASTERS.)

_Second entry of the_ BALLET. (_Dance of the two_ PAGES.)

_Third entry of the_ BALLET. (_Four_ SPECTATORS, _who quarrelled during the dance, now dance, sword in hand, fighting all the while_.)

_Fourth entry of the_ BALLET. (_Two_ SOLDIERS _separate the combatants, and dance with them_.)

SCENE III.--JULIA, ÉRASTE, NÉRINE.

JUL. Oh dear, Éraste! take care that we are not discovered. I am so afraid of being seen with you; all would be lost after the command I have received to the contrary.

ERA. I see nobody about.

JUL. (_to_ NÉRINE). Just keep watch, Nérine, and be careful that nobody comes.

NER. (_going to the farther end of the stage_). Trust me for that: and say all you have to say to each other.

JUL. Have you thought of anything to favour our plan, Éraste? And do you think that we shall succeed in breaking off that marriage which my father has taken into his head?

ERA. We are at least doing all we can for it, and we have ready many schemes to bring such an absurd notion to naught.

NER. (_running towards_ JULIA). I say, here is your father.

JUL. Ah! let us separate quickly.

NER. No, no; don't go; I made a mistake.

JUL. How absurd you are, Nérine, to give us such a fright!

ERA. Yes, dear Julia, we have plenty of stratagems ready for the purpose; and, in accordance with the permission you have given me, we will not hesitate to make use of every means. Do not ask me what it is we are going to do; you will have the fun of seeing it, and, as at a comedy, it will be nice for you to have the pleasure of being surprised without my letting you know beforehand what is going to take place. This is telling you that we have many schemes in hand for the occasion, and that our clever Nérine and the dexterous Sbrigani have undertaken to bring the affair to a successful issue.

NER. Yes, we have indeed. Is your father crazy to think of entangling you with his lawyer of Limoges; that Mr. de Pourceaugnac, whom he has never seen in his life, and who comes by the coach to take you away before our very eyes? Ought three or four thousand crowns, more or less--and that, too, upon the word of your uncle--to make him refuse a lover you like? Besides, are you made for a Limousin? If he has taken it into his head to marry, why does he not take one of his own countrywomen, and let Christians be at peace? The very name of Pourceaugnac puts me in a frightful rage. I boil over with Mr. de Pourceaugnac. If it were only because of the name, I would do anything to prevent the match. No, you shall not be Mrs. de Pourceaugnac. Pourceaugnac! Was ever such a name heard of! [Footnote: Pourceaugnac equals _pourceau_, "a young pig," plus the local ending _-gnac_.] No, I could never put up with Pourceaugnac; and we will abuse the man to such an extent, and play him so many tricks, that he will have to return to Limoges, Mr. de Pourceaugnac.

ERA. Here is our cunning Neapolitan, who will give us news.

SCENE IV.--JULIA, ÉRASTE, SBRIGANI, NÉRINE.

SBRI. Our man has just come, Sir. I saw him at a place three leagues away from here, where the coach stops; and I studied him for more than half an hour in the kitchen, where he went down to breakfast, and I know him now perfectly. As to his appearance, I will say nothing about it; you will see for yourselves what nature has done for him, and if his dress is not the very thing to set that off. But as for his understanding, I can tell you beforehand that it is among the dullest I


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